Treating Superficial Venous Reflux: VNUS

Updated on: August 18, 2014

VNUS is a minimally invasive procedure that has successfully helped individuals in the Annapolis, Maryland area and other parts of the country find relief from a condition known as superficial venous reflux, which may result in varicose veins. These are bluish or purplish in color and may appear as bulging from the skin. Some estimate that varicose veins affect about 10% to 20% of the adult population, with a majority of those suffering being women. VNUS, fortunately, has helped many find relief from these often embarrassing veins. It is an outpatient procedure that may be performed in a doctor's office, surgical center or hospital.

Only a local anesthetic is required with moderate sedation rather than the general anesthetic required with some venous treatments and procedures. A single needle stick or small incision is made and a thin catheter is inserted into the greater saphenous vein. The catheter is then used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the vein wall, which causes it to heat, collapse and seal shut. Blood flow is then carried out by healthy veins within the legs. Symptoms should improve as normal blood flow is returned to the leg.

Once the catheter is removed, a bandage is placed over the insertion site and the leg may be wrapped for about a day to aid in the healing process. Patients should wear compression stockings and while they may be able to walk, they may be encouraged to refrain from standing for long periods following the procedure. Normal activities are usually resumed after about one to two days.

Most procedures take about 30 to 60 minutes, although this may vary. One of the benefits of this and other minimally-invasive procedures is that patients are able to go home the same day that treatment is received. There may be a mild pain during the procedure, although a local anesthetic may be used to numb the skin. Most notice improvement in symptoms within one to two weeks and the cosmetic appearance should improve after a few months. Possible side effects of this procedure may include scarring, bruising or swelling in the treatment area, although these should disappear within one to two weeks.

As is true of just about any medical procedure, there is a risk of certain complications associated with VNUS. These may include vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, numbness, tingling and skin burn. Individuals interested in this procedure are encouraged to consult a vein specialist in the Annapolis area for further information.

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